Peter Betts

Peter Betts


I graduated from the University of Southampton in 2021 with an MSci in Marine Biology. My primary interests include metabolic rate and how this interacts with external factors such as temperature to influence fish biology and ecology. I am also fascinated by stable isotope analysis and how these natural tracers can be used to infer an organism’s ecology.

My final year project investigated Spatial Changes in Field Metabolic Rate and Thermal Sensitivity across the Barents Sea, using stable isotope analysis of teleost otoliths.

I found metabolism and the techniques used to infer it particularly intriguing and built on these skills more recently as a research assistant at the University of Southampton using stable isotope analysis of Porbeagle and Spurdog eye lenses to infer ontogenic movement patterns.

I am excited to start applying and further developing some of these skills studying how metabolism and its drivers affect Salmonid ecology and movement.

Peter Betts

PhD title: Metabolic Drivers of Growth and Survival in Salmonids

Metabolic rate is a fundamental driver and indicator of fish performance in the wild and temperature is one of the primary determinants of metabolic rate.

My project will focus on exploring the effect of temperature and resource availability on the metabolism and growth rate of Atlantic Salmon and Brown Trout across their European range. Alongside determining the influence of metabolism, body size, and fish condition on the timing and likelihood of migration in salmon and trout, and the probability of survival to reproductive age. The project aims to achieve this by tagging Salmonids across a latitudinal range of rivers, while also measuring metabolic rate, stomach contents, growth rate and local resources.

This work should allow a better understanding of the key factors contributing to Salmonid success in the wild and so allow management decisions to be influenced by knowledge of which factors to prioritise when making conservation decisions. Salmon populations across Europe have been declining dramatically so this research is key in order to preserve this ecologically important and economically valuable species.


    Cross generational spatial ecology in the spiny dogfish (Squalus acanthias). Identifying regions used for maternal egg provisioning from stable isotope compositions of eye lens cores from adult offspring. (With Cefas for Review)

Other information

I have previously volunteered with ReefCI and Love the Oceans and this work involved, surveying of an artisanal fishery, collecting coral reef transect data, humpback whale survey, lionfish population management and teaching children the importance of marine conservation.